#029 – Jimbo

For our final mix before we turn the big three zero, we welcome James Budd to the hallowed OHOD turntables. Reflecting his diverse influence and interests, James walks us from grime to dub to dubstep and everything in between, whilst we talk deep in our interview: music culture, politics, as well as the usual random inquiries about food preferences. Enjoy!

File it under: System Music

Hello mate. Thanks for agreeing to chat to us and do this mix. How are things?

Busy mate! Too many good tunes coming out at the moment, I daren’t leave my computer in case some bastard sticks yet another limited press on the Internet! And my Technics need some care and attention after spending a fortnight in the boot of my car!

Of course you’re a DJ, but we know you’re also really heavily steeped in the local scene and it’s culture. We wanted to ask first of all: how did you get into all this? What were the formative moments of you getting involved in music when you were younger?

My mum and dad really, that’s where it all began. My mum was always playing soul, motown and little bits of reggae when I was a kid, and my dad’s always been someone I’ve looked up to when it comes to music. He’s got an ear for a tune, always has, as long as it’s got a meaning, a purpose or some technicality to it. Then getting into my teenage years I’d be listening to 90s Shy FX and DJ SS mixes with Skibadee and Det MCing on my Walkman in school!

What sort of music would you say you’re into? How would you define your musical taste?

Eclectic: I’ll listen to anything, pretty much. There will always be certain elements from music made by people from different cultures, countries and backgrounds that are unique because of their influences, and every genre – every track – can tell a story. I’m a firm believer in there being a genre for every mood and moment too, so my taste varies. At this moment in time, I’ve been getting back into my trip-hop and dubstep, I’ve spent the last few months playing jungle most of the time and I felt I needed to slow it down a little. Less is more, sometimes!

Because I heard a lot of soul and reggae when I was younger, the majority of the music I listen to today is bass heavy, with lots of old sampled/recreated breaks, and tends to have a positive message. Hip-hop, trip-hop, jungle, garage, and grime: their roots all stem from the likes of soul, dub and reggae. It’s always been about the drums and the bass of a track for me, they’re the foundations. Without the foundations, everything else is going to fall down.

When did you make the transition from getting involved in all of this music to wanting to DJ it?

University, pure and simple. I got away from the people that had no interest in the music I liked, fell in with a very musically focused group of people and thought it was about time to learn how to mix. I started out at free parties and illegal raves that a few of us were involved in (Seven Sounds, nothing but respect!), then managed to blag sets at events elsewhere, and it went on from there.

Everyone seems to have a horror story about their first ever set of decks. Do you?

Ha! Yes I sure do. My first pair of decks were 1210 Mk2s, but they’d been taken out of a club in Sunderland. Safe to say there was more drink and them than there was wiring, and the tonearms did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. I ended up selling them for a festival ticket, but landed myself another pair of Mk2s not long after, and guess what? They’re not any better in the slightest. They’re even worse after spending two weeks in the boot of my car… I’m one tonearm short!

As well as mixing, do you make your own tunes as well? If so, tell us about them and how you go about making music…

Unfortunately not. Well, I’ve downloaded Logic and started a couple of projects, but it’s not something I’ve had the time to do, although it’s something I really want to get into. Mixing tunes is one thing, but composing or producing good music takes another level of skill. I’ve always had ideas for music, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to put them down until recently.

When you’re on the decks, there are certain styles and things people try to achieve. We’re big fans of long, smooth mixes, but we wanted to ask you: what goes into a typical set that you play? What sort of vibe do you try and achieve, and how does it depend on where you’re playing?

This is where we’re not going to get on! There’s nothing I like more than hearing a DJ hammer the faders and catch two bars from one track, and then maybe another two bar drum break from the other, or a vocal sample, then switch it back. I understand with the likes of house and techno that being silky smooth is key, but for the likes of grime, jungle, dubstep, I’d say chopping up tunes effectively – and in perfect time – will always be more impressive. It does depend on what and where you’re playing, though. I do play house and techno sometimes, and I don’t fuck about as much as I like to with other genres. I really enjoy playing jungle, reggae and garage when I’m playing at events; they’re genres that are always going to go down well and keep a crowd dancing. Everything always tends to be full of bass and drum breaks aplenty! I go through phases, recently I’ve been playing a lot of the new grime sounds, the likes of Murlo, JT The Goon, Arma, Lolingo, Inkke. Distinctly grime, but with less of the murky attitude that used to be associated with the genre. When I’m at home I prefer mixing dubstep, trip-hop, dub and generally weird shit that nobody would want to hear in a club!

Delving a bit more deeply into the culture now. Bit of an odd question, but what do you think about music in a philosophical way, if that makes sense? What do you think music is for, and what does it mean to you personally?

It’s my life, to put it simply. Since I was born, up until now, it’s been the one failsafe I’ve always had, and the one thing I’ve turned to in any situation. I don’t hate pop music, because it keeps those people happy that don’t want to expand their minds to what real music should be. If they want to be that ignorant, it’s their loss. Music is by far the most important art form to me, and it goes deeper than being just art. The right track can define a culture, an entire movement, and a specific moment in time that could never be captured in any other way. Music is meant to be a message, and I believe it still is in the underground scenes; a reflection of the maker and their surroundings. Chart music is there to keep the ignorant in bliss, and I’m glad they can be happy with that… Again, I think it all stems from the issues that were sang about in the music I would hear as a kid, music with a purpose, fighting for a cause, making the world aware of oppressions and troubles.

What in your opinion is the state of the underground music scene in the North East at the moment, and how has it changed in the time you’ve been involved with it?

From my observations over the last few years, I’ve seen that when the locals, there’s a lot of fashion involved. Nights that were dubstep purveyors then became D’n’B events, then became house, and now they’re techno. Some say it’s following the times, but I see it as a shame, because then scenes die out just as the homegrown talent is getting to its peak. However, there are those events that exist wholeheartedly for the good of the music, and to support the local music scene. Those nights will never die, as there’s so much drive and passion behind the people responsible.

Given the recent kerfuffle over a certain dubstep ‘lost dub’ that doesn’t need naming getting a limited press on 300 copies, what do you think of this entire limited edition release lark and about the state of vinyl culture more generally at the moment?

Record collecting has turned into stock trading; it’s like the stock exchange now. People aren’t buying the record for the music printed on it; they’re buying it as a commodity, because they know they’re making a sound investment, literally. I’d say it’s an unfortunate state of affairs, because the ones without the cash have to be fast as fuck when that release date comes, or else they’ve got no chance of owning a tune they’d actually play out.

Tell us about your involvement with Lively Up. It’s one of our favourite nights in Newcastle and one you’ve played at a few times. How did you get involved and what makes Lively Up so special in your opinion?

I’ve been mates with Mr. Bossman himself, Jake, since a very interesting weekend at a rave in Scotland. That’s where I met Angus and Jez from Serenity Sounds too, who’ve been the source of the noise for Lively Up from day one, pretty much. I got involved through being an absolute blag, ha! Nah, the reason I got involved is the same reason that most of the local DJs who play Lively Up get the opportunity: the people behind the event are putting it on for the simple reason that they want Newcastle – the North East, really – to have its own underground music scene, away from all of the student nights and regular piss ups. The support DJs are on almost a constant rotation, so there’s always the opportunity for people to play who maybe wouldn’t get the chance elsewhere. But it’s not just about the chances for locals, the headliners are always on point: the promoters always listen to their crowd, and work out their bookings based on the tastes of their audience.

On top of all this, you’re also an aspiring music journalist, having wrote for us in the past too! It’s a difficult career path. Would you like to be able to earn your living from writing and review about music and culture as you see it?

Most definitely! But it’s a long road, so I don’t expect any miracles to appear out of the dust. It’s becoming harder than ever with more and more people being able to build up a name for themselves through internet blogging and the like, instead of say, studying journalism at university, like I did. However, the digital age has also meant that you can reach your target audience faster and more directly than ever before, so there are two sides to every coin.

Final one for this section. Tell us a bit about soundsystem culture, and your involvement with some of the sound-systems up here in the North East…

I’d consider myself extremely fortunate when it comes to the circles of people that I’ve been involved with over recent years, and especially lucky to be able to work with some of the greatest sound-systems the region has to offer. The likes of Instrument Of Jah, Vibration Hi-Fi, and of course Serenity Sounds. For an area that may not exactly be associated with reggae or sound-system culture, the North East holds its own when it comes to delivering that bass! The sound-system scene is very much a community thing, which is even more noticeable around here, as the crowd tends to be the same from dance to dance. It’s all about supporting your local stack of speakers!


Favourite crisp flavour?

Chilli Heatwave Doritos.

Favourite hot beverage?

Tea mate, come on. No sugar, small splash of milk.

Would you rather have an elephant’s trunk or a giraffe’s neck?

An elephant’s trunk: a giraffe’s neck is impractical; trying to see the start of a record is hard enough already sometimes.

What is the most prized vinyl in your collection?

Dexter – Homer Flip. Such an odd remix, I’ve never heard anything like it.

What tune would you have most liked to be a fly on the wall for when it was being made?

I would love to have been in the studio throughout the making of Nightmares On Wax’s album, Smokers Delight. It’s possibly my favourite album of all time, and it must have been an experience to be a part of its creation.

Would you rather cry Lea and Perrin’s, sweat Brown Sauce, or explode Sweet Chilli Sauce all over the place every time you blew your nose?

Cry Lea & Perrin’s. I never cry.

And finally…

As a final thought, we wanted to ask something a bit more serious. Lots of people say that music should stay out of politics and vice versa. So a) do you think music can have a political purpose and b) what do you think more generally about the upcoming general election?

Music can, and should, always have a purpose. Whether it’s personal, sociological, political, that’s another matter. You’ve got the likes of reggae and hip-hop that are heavily influenced by politics at times, and music can sometimes be the most fitting tool to use to deliver a message: it can highlight and address a particular issue in a way that sticks with the listener.

With regards to the general election, I’d rather not go into it. Same shit, different party names. The only system is a SOUND system.

How did you go about putting this mix together for us? Anything you particularly wanted to showcase?

This mix is essentially some of the stuff I’ve been listening in early 2015. It’s all between 128 & 140BPM, and all bass heavy. There’s some 8-bar grime sounds, some house, techno, dubstep, garage, even a little bassline. There are also a few tunes from friends and people that are currently breaking into the scene: I’ve tried to showcase music as a whole, rather that pick hits that everyone will know.

Brilliant. Well, listen mate, thanks so much for speaking to us and providing this mix. As always, now’s the time to send your love and acknowledgements out to anyone…

I’d be killed if I left out anyone here, but there are so many people to thank for letting me blag their heads, carry their boxes and play at their nights. It all began with the group of us who ran Seven Sounds (thanks to Pete on that one), Patrick from Instrument of Jah (by far the most heavyweight sound in the North East, no matter how modest he is), the man like Angus from Serenity, of course. Also Jake from Lively Up, and everyone else who thinks they deserve a mention, consider this it!

Loefah – Veal
Hodge & Facta – Spheres of Costa Rica
Adicon – Bossta (Sheik’s 303 909 Edit)
Otik – Rough Patch
Joonipah – Whupah
Danny Weed – Creeper (Murlo Refix)
Invader Spade – The Boss DJ Tool
Invader Spade – Oh Boy
Rebound X – Rhythm & Gash (Inkke Bootleg)
Kamikaze – Ghetto Kyote (Arma Reflex)
Dexplicit – Bullacake (K1 Remix)
Witty Boy – Iron Man
Plastician – Spring Roller
El-B – Buck & Bury feat. Juiceman (Tunnidge Remix)
Murlo – Vertigo
Mala – Miracles (Commodo Remix)
Mala – Changes (Danny T Remix)
Silkie – Slow Jam
Kode9 & The Spaceape – Fukkaz
2562 – Basin Dub
Syrum – Erykah Dub
Mungo’s Hi-Fi feat. Charlie P – Rules of the Dance (Kahn Remix)

#029 – Jimbo – Bass by Onehouronedj on Mixcloud



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